If you own or manage a commercial building; if you are looking for any ultimate guide to commercial roofing then this article will definitely help you. It is not a surprise that you are also responsible for the building's commercial roofing system. Commercial roofing is one of the most important parts of the building, so it is essential that you know what to look for.

As with many building systems, a roof is not something you think about on a day-to-day basis, but as soon as it is time to do maintenance and repairs, you need to check the roof is performing as it should and ensure you have an effective and long-lasting roof to keep your business running strong. Preventative maintenance (including regular, thorough inspections) is the best option to keep your commercial roof from becoming a major frustration for your commercial space operations.

American National Roofing Company is committed to installing, restoring, and repairing the commercial roofing systems and also keeps all types of commercial roofs protected, so you can have a more reliable business. So, let us stick to our topic Ultimate Guide to Commercial Roofing and start learning about this one by one.

Table of Contents

  • Choosing a Commercial Roofing System
  • The Shape of Commercial Roofs
  • Types of Commercial Roofing Systems
    • Single Ply Roofing
    • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)
    • PVC roofing
    • EPDM Roofing (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)
    • Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems
    • Built-Up Roofing Systems
    • Metal Roofs
    • Liquid Applied Roofing
    • Roof Coating Systems
    • Green Roofs
    • Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels
    • Steep Slope
    • Insulation & Cover Boards
  • Conclusion

Choosing a Commercial Roofing System

The first and foremost factor in the ultimate guide to commercial roofing is the choosing your commercial roofing system structure. There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing the right commercial roofing. You need to consider what kind of building you are working on and if it will have any unique challenges or special requirements. In addition, you should look at the size and age of your facility too. There are several commercial roofing materials from which to choose. Here are the things to look at: The shape of commercial roofs with commercial roofing systems, finding the slope of the roof is important. Commercial Roofs are of 2 types:

  • 1. Low Slope Roofs (or Flat Roofs)
  • 2. Steep Slope Roofs

Let us have a quick look at these types of commercial roofs.

1. Low Slope Roofs:

These roofing systems are mostly found in warehouses, big box stores, and shopping centers. There are several options for flat roofs with this roofing system, including PVC, EPDM, and TPO.

2. Steep Slope Roofs:

This kind of roofing systems are more commonly seen on single and multi-family homes than commercial properties. With this commercial roofing system, popular roof materials include: shingles, metal, tile, or slate. The next factor that you need to learn in the ultimate guide to commercial roofing is come to know about the types of commercial roofing systems that are being using in the market.

Types of Commercial Roofing Systems

As soon as you determine the roof's slope, you are ready to choose the roofing system that is best suited for your business. The following are some common types of commercial roofing systems, which you can go for

  • 1. Single Ply Roofing
  • 2. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
  • 3. Polyvinyl Chloride Roofing (shortly called as PVC)
  • 4. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Roofing (EPDM)
  • 5. Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems
  • 6. Built-Up Roofing Systems
  • 7. Metal Roofs
  • 8. Liquid Applied Roofing
  • 9. Roof Coating Systems
  • 10. Green Roofs
  • 11. Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels
  • 12. Steep Slope
  • 13. Insulation & Cover Boards

Now, in this ultimate guide to commercial roofing, let us learn about these types of commercial roofing systems, their material types, their applications, etc. in brief.

1. Single Ply Roofing

PVC, TPO, and EPDM are the roofing materials or sub-types that consider under Single-Ply Roof Systems, which is one of the types of commercial roofing systems. Many building owners favor these materials since they are flexible, robust, resist peeling, cracking, and other forms of weathering. One of their main characteristics is that they can be stacked one on top of the other. Within the single-ply roofing industry, there are two main types of membranes called Thermoplastic, and Thermoset.

2. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (in short TPO)

A common material used on low slope roofs in North America is Thermoplastic Polyolefin (shortly called as TPO), which has heat-welded seams and excellent reflective properties. Normally composed of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber, TPO membranes are single-ply membranes. There are a variety of colors available for thermoplastic membranes such as, although white, gray, and tan are the most popular. You can install the membrane using a variety of methods, including mechanically attaching, adhering, and ballasting.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride Roofing (shortly called as PVC)

A Polyvinyl Chloride (shortly called as PVC) roof is another one of the types of commercial roofing systems that is composed of two layers of PVC with a polyester reinforcement scrim sandwiched in between. The top layer contains additives that make it UV resistant. Plasticizers on the bottom ply make the plywood more flexible, which makes it easier to install. In addition to its longevity and durability, PVC membranes are also fire resistant.

In addition to being able to weld, PVC has the ability to make watertight joints with adjoining sheets. By welding a pre-manufactured rib to the surface of a PVC sheet, a standing seam roof system can be evoked at a much lower cost while providing the same visual appeal. Membranes made of PVC are also recyclable and can be repurposed in new sheets.

4. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM Roofing)

A hard-to-pronounce chemical compound, ethylene propylene diene monomer is known for its toughness and elasticity. EPDM roofing utilizes a material that is capable of resisting any damage caused by ultraviolet rays and the Sun's rays. EPDM rubber roofing is one of the most popular commercial roofing materials today because of its low cost and resilient strength. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer roofing membranes are made up of synthetic rubber that contains a mixture of natural gas and oil. Low-slope commercial buildings use EPDM roofing anywhere in the world.

5. Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems

Asphalt is combined with a unique chemical polymer to create a modified bitumen roof type for temperature and flexibility resistance. It can be applied in multiple layers, several ways (hot-mopped asphalt, torch applied, self-adhesive sheets, or cold-applied adhesives), in both cold and hot temperatures, making it a best option for installation across all seasons. A secure bond is formed by melting the seams together. These roofing materials are rated against wind, fire, and hail, which means that they will not be damaged during a storm.

6. Built-Up Roofing Systems

Built-up roofing is one of the oldest commercial roofing systems available on the market with 3-5 layers for high levels of protection under extreme climatic conditions, including low and high temperatures. Built-up roofing, also called as BUR Systems that has been in applications for more than a century.

7. Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are known for their aesthetics, durability, and longevity. Many building owners like the appearance and durability of metal roofs, which can be used on both low-slope and steep roofs. Certain types of metal roofs are now more popular with builders and homeowners due to their longer lifespan and durability.

8. Liquid Applied Roofing

Reinforcing polyester and resin are used to create a Liquid Applied Roofing Membrane. Due to its ability of hard-to-reach areas, it provides superior waterproofing capabilities. The paint is typically sprayed on or rolled on in two separate coats. Since liquid roofs are applied differently than traditional roofing materials, they do not cause invasive disturbances or emit harmful odors, which making them an excellent choice for businesses that need to remain open during construction.

9. Roof Coating Systems

A fluid-applied membrane forms this fully adhered coating. The coating able to stretch itself and returned to its original shape. Roof coatings come in many varieties, but acrylic and silicone are the most common materials. Metal roof coatings are best suited to keeping buildings cool, reducing energy consumption, and preventing leaks. They also extend the life of a roof.

10. Green Roofs

Not all spaces are appropriate for green roofs. However, they can help to decrease energy costs by providing natural insulation, creating enjoyable spaces for people and animals, and absorbing storm water, thus reducing the need for complex and costly drainage systems. Urban heat islands effect can be reduced by installing Green Roofs.

11. Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels

As we know that the solar panels convert sunlight or Heat Energy into usable Energy. In high-sun regions, photo-voltaic can provide long-term cost savings to users, especially in roofing. There are many restoration services companies that can help you install a rooftop photovoltaic system and maintain the integrity of the roofing system so that your building will remain watertight without the PV system being disrupted.

12. Steep Slope

Steep Slope Roofing is a type of roofing system where the roofs are constructed with slopes of 3:12 or greater. A similar type of roof can sometimes be seen on commercial properties as well, usually as part of the building's design, e.g., a hotel or university. The roof slope determines which types of materials can be used, such as asphalt composition roll, fiberglass 3-tabshingles, fiberglass laminate shingles, specialty asphalt shingles, wood shakes, wood shingles, clay, concrete tile, slate, and metal roofing.

13. Insulation & Cover Boards

The use of roof covering boards and thermal insulation can increase the energy efficiency of your building and decrease your utility bills. Insulating the roof during replacement is the best time to meet current energy codes.


When choosing a commercial roofing system, there are many options to consider that are said in our ultimate guide to commercial roofing. We, American National Roofing offers a variety of commercial roofing services, including design, installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance. Business, industrial, offices, hospitality, retail, educational, and distribution centers are just some of the areas we serve. With our partnerships with reputed manufacturers, we can offer our customers a wide range of roofs for any budget.